Steven received his prognosis of terminal cancer three months ago. The tumor in his brain was growing rapidly and there was little anyone could do. Steven and his family were shocked and very scared of what lay ahead for them. The family contacted VON Oxford to engage a Hospice Volunteer Visitor. As a Hospice Volunteer, I provide practical and emotional support for Steven and his family, as well as caregiver relief.
Steven was an active senior enjoying his retirement after 42 years as a dedicated employee. His time was spent doing all the things he had dreamed of for so long, finishing his many woodworking projects, working in the yard and garden with his wife of 38 years, traveling, enjoying the activities at the senior centre and spending time with his three children and eight grandchildren, the pride and joy of his life.
Stephen and I spent many hours talking about his life. The reminders of a very full and rich life surrounded us. Every picture and memento had a heart warming story attached to it and he joyfully shared these with me. We talked about the last and very important part of his journey and what was beyond this life. We laughed and joked as Stephen painted the ideal picture of heaven complete with hockey games on a larger-than-life TV screen.
We discussed at length his concerns about dying. He said he was not afraid to die but was unprepared to leave his wife and family, as he knew it would cause them such pain and heartache. I assured him that his family, whom I had gotten to know intimately, would not be left alone in their grief, as Hospice would continue to provide emotional support for them.
Steven died peacefully in the home he had lived in all his married life, encircled in the warmth, comfort and support of his family and a few very close friends, of which I felt privileged to be included. Steven reaffirmed in me the importance of living life to the final moment, for he died as he had lived, with peace in his heart.